What were they thinking?

Comment, compilation by

Barry Tucker                    18 March, 2014

Here’s a story we haven’t heard the last of.

Background: Queensland Police offer various news media access to the operations of Taskforce Takeback. Brisbane’s channel 9 assigns a reporter to cover the story for A Current Affair (ACA). The reporter is allowed to speak to and ask questions of occupants of premises visited by police and of some persons arrested; some of these questions are offensive by any measure and a breach of the persons’ legal rights. The ABC’s Media Watch (MW) of 17 March, 2014 covers the ACA story, which was telecast on 24 February, 2014.

This series of events is a can of worms.

  • Why did Queensland Police invite the news media to accompany Taskforce Takeback officers on their operations? The scope for abuse of legal rights is considerable under such circumstances.
  • Why did the ACA reporter, Jenna Hudson, say her assignment was “exclusive” and her access “unprecedented”? Both of those claims are wrong.
  • Why did Ms Hudson feel it was in order to say to one detained person: “You’re the scum of the Earth”?
  • Why did Ch9’s ACA assign Ms Hudson to this story when her judgment and knowledge of basic legal rights seems to be questionable?
  • Why did Media Watch pick certain parts of Ms Hudson’s 8min, 27sec report and leave out others?
  • Why did police say their footage showed no incriminating evidence when an officer is seen handling and referring to a plastic bag said to contain cocaine? See Q 9, transcript MW questions to Qld police & answers below.

People who have been following Queensland politics under LNP Premier Campbell Newman will be aware of his crackdown on members of motorcycle clubs and owners of tattoo parlours, both of which are alleged to be involved in organised crime. The State’s justice system, structure and members of the judiciary at all levels appear to be under attack — a related issue but separate to this story. Another related but separate issue: the right to assemble and associate is also under attack in Queensland, along with voting rights and voter IDs — definitely a separate but related issue.

Premier Newman wants publicity for his hard-line approach to crime and dissent.

On my second last point above, Ms Hudson has tweeted that she has some issues with the MW treatment of her story:

Jennas tweet Relevant links:

The ACA telecast of 24 February, 2014

Transcript, MW questions to Qld Police and its answers.

The Media Watch telecast of 17 March, 2014

A Current Affair’s Facebook page. Scroll down to 24 February, “Busted”. Click on Show More Comments.

Any subsequent updates will be posted here eventually.